The Collected Poems of Katherine Mansfield

The Collected Poems of Katherine Mansfield

The Collected Poems of Katherine Mansfield by Katherine Mansfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


My wonderful son gave me a book gift card for Christmas (my husband managed to prevent Xave buying me a Lee Child book – I’m sure Child is a talented author, but that is not my genre at all!)

I had to think about it a bit. Books are expensive in New Zealand and I didn’t want to waste Xave’s money on a book that wasn’t going to be a keeper. KM is not only my favourite New Zealand writer – she is also my favourite short story author, so I thought it would be really good to sample her known poems. Finally tracked this already-hard-to-get book down to Whitcoull’s Centrepoint branch & I am very grateful to the staff member who couriered it to me.

I’ve also had to think about what rating to give this book. This book – well, look at the cover. Just stunning! Every aspect of the presentation of this book is superb – I found the notes at the back most helpful!

The poems are never less than interesting although I didn’t really care for all of the early ones.

‘Why do you scream, oh, sea bird
And why do you fly to me?’
‘I am the soul of your lover
Who lies drowned far out at sea.’

KM may have been happy for that offering to drown as well!

Also enjoy the poems with a New Zealand flavour. From XXVII (writing about the Tui’s call)

Answer her call
They troop from the valleys and plains
From the stupid cities they never have fashioned
From the wharves where the strangers’ ships find mooring.
From the green isles they pass in procession…

Also some moving tributes to her brother Leslie who died in the Great War. (she wrote two versions of To L.H.B.)

Last night for the first time since you were dead
I walked with you, my brother, in a dream…

Written a year after Leslie’s death.

The last poem (from 1922) touched me so much. From The Wounded Bird

Oh, waters – do not cover me!
I would look long and long at those beautiful stars!
Oh my wings – lift me – lift me
I am not so dreadfully hurt…

Katherine Mansfield died the 9th of January, 1923. She was only 34.

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